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Blue Island Tribe

Don’t freak out now—the title of Blue Island Tribe’s latest EP The 5 Hits of Ecstasy may be a clever double entendre, but it’s not about drugs. Well, not really, unless you consider the powerful, hypnotic sway the Iowa based reggae-rock band holds over its thousands of fans across the Midwest.

Driven by their mantra “You can’t argue with crazy,” these six ambitious musicians launched the band while attending the University of Northern Iowa in the early 2000s after deciding that the world simply needed more fun. They have since spread the fun on four previous discs ...read more

Don’t freak out now—the title of Blue Island Tribe’s latest EP The 5 Hits of Ecstasy may be a clever double entendre, but it’s not about drugs. Well, not really, unless you consider the powerful, hypnotic sway the Iowa based reggae-rock band holds over its thousands of fans across the Midwest.

Driven by their mantra “You can’t argue with crazy,” these six ambitious musicians launched the band while attending the University of Northern Iowa in the early 2000s after deciding that the world simply needed more fun. They have since spread the fun on four previous discs and anywhere from 100-200 annual gigs.

And the EP name? Purely exciting and innocent. It developed after drummer Mike Schminke couldn’t remember how several of the new songs—all in their primitive stages—started. The title track “Ecstasy,” whose laid back romantic and soulful exuberance reflects the band’s new sonic vibe after a spell of growth and transition, launches with five hits in unison, so bassist Brandon Clark would always tell him “5 hits of ecstasy.” They added “The” because, well, they can and the other guys—lead singer Frey, lead guitarist John Schminke, rhythm guitarist Kelly Powers and saxophonist Garrett Thielking—couldn’t argue with it.

The 5 Hits of Ecstasy was recorded at Sonic Factory Studios in Des Moines and features key contributions by members of the popular Midwestern based college rock band The Nadas. The EP was mastered by John Mailoux of Bongo Beach Productions, whose credits include Sugar Ray, Dispatch, and State Radio.

“We love all of these songs, but ‘Ecstasy’ is one that in particular shows the maturity and development of Blue Island Tribe over the past few years,” adds Clark. “We’ve all grown so much as songwriters. Our songs in the past have been popular but also somewhat simple, but these five tracks are more refined, with a tighter sound, an exciting edge and more emotional impact. We’ve finally got our sound to where people will know it’s Blue Island Tribe the minute they hear us. There have been bumps along the way for us, but we’re great friends, have a powerful chemistry onstage and most of all, just have fun doing what we’re doing. In fact, we’re having more fun performing now than ever before. We’re out there embracing the moment and having a blast. The crowds pick up on that and have a great time right along with us..

Even as many of their infectious songs, beginning with the widely popular “No Worries” from their 2003 debut Road To Hana and the hit “Endless Summer”, have been on numerous TV shows and videos over the years, Blue Island Tribe’s live shows have been where the real energy and excitement of the band shines. A major touring force and huge festival attraction everywhere from their adopted hometown of Des Moines, Omaha to Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, they also played 20 shows last summer for Armed Forces Entertainment on U.S. military bases in Japan and Korea.

One of The 5 Hits of Ecstasy’s key tracks, the tropically-tinged spiritual anthem “March On,” was partially written, totally extemporaneously, when the band was playing an intimate show in a living room for about 20 people on a small base in Korea. The music for the song had been composed back home, but the song didn’t have lyrics until Frey started singing it and improvising words like “March On…This Is Our Movement…Can You Feel It In Your Soul?” and creating what became a stunning tribute to our troops. The EP is rounded out by “Jump And Shout” (which features an incredible Red Hot Chili Peppers flavored guitar riff by John Schminke); the instantly infectious, edgy rocker “Down” and “Drop Out,” whose upbeat vibe is balanced by pointed lyrics about the end of a relationship.

Frey says, “’March On’ is not advocating war by any means. This song was written as homage to all the excellent people we met and their will to simply ‘march on.’ I can see with new eyes that our military is an absolute necessity, not as a warring campaign but as a peace-keeping entity. With that in mind, we wanted to create a song that would reflect the inspiration of what the tour and the people we met meant to us. So, to all the troops past and present that put their life on the line to protect our freedoms, this one is for you.” « hide


The 5 Hits of Ecstasy
2008

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